Ring in the new year with some of our favorite live music. We’ll have a set from New Orleans’ trumpet player, Kermit Ruffins with an all-star Crescent City band featuring vocalist Thais Clark. Lafayette, Louisiana’s Pine Leaf Boys bring rock and roll energy to their own version of traditional Cajun music. Step into a holiday soiree of reels, jigs and waltzes by French fiddlers in Westbrook, Maine. And pull up a set for a club set from singer and banjo player Don Vappie and the Creole Jazz Serenaders. It’s a festive set of live music that will keep you swinging well into 2009.
American Routes travels the Lost Highway in memory of Hank Williams, who died in the back seat of his Cadillac en route to a New Years Day concert. We’ll remember Hank’s lasting contribution to American music with two hours of stories and songs from his musical ancestors, collaborators and descendants, including band member Don Helms, biographer Colin Escott, and grandson Hank III.
There’s no place like home for the holidays. Our guests for this holiday version of American Routes wax nostalgically in words and music. Jazz pianist and singer Diana Krall recalls her childhood on Vancouver Island and how those traditions are being carried on in her own home today. Jimmy and Tootie Heath of the Heath Brothers reminisce about a life in jazz and their late brother Percy. Baby, it’s cold outside. Stay in, snuggle up and enjoy.
Come meet us at the club as we jump into two distinct American musics: go-go and zydeco. From the Nation’s Capital, we’ll visit with the “Godfather of Go-Go,” funk and jazz guitarist Chuck Brown who’ll explain the finer points of jamming and showing the audience some love. Then, we’re back in Louisiana getting down to the Creole sounds of zydeco with the Creole cowboy Jeffrey Broussard, whose fiddle and accordion playing brings the music back its source. The son of the late accordion legend Delton Broussard, Jeffery knows the deep roots of d’vrais zarico (real zydeco), but also the appeal of tradition in a modern sound.
Tune in for a tribute to the man who melded gospel, soul and pop in music and life, Sam Cooke. We’ll follow the singer from Clarksdale to Chicago and from the church to the Copa as he revolutionized gospel music with the Soul Stirrers and then secular music with self-penned hits “You Send Me,” “Change is Gonna Come,” and more. Plus an hour of the musical roots and branches of Sam Cooke.